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16 More Seattle Schools Now Offering Free All-Day Kindergarten

Elaine Thompson
Associated Press
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, Christopher Larry, Jr., right, reacts to winning a letter bingo game as Joel McCain looks on in their kindergarten classroom at Campbell Hill Elementary in Renton, Wash.

An additional 770 kindergarteners can now attend school for free as a result of Seattle Public Schools’ decision to offer free all-day kindergarten at 16 more schools.

The change took effect Nov.1, but it is retroactive to Sept. 4, meaning families will get refunds for September and October.

Twenty seven of Seattle's 69 elementary and K-8 schools currently offer the cost-free program, and the change, boosts the number of participating schools to more than half. 

“We know that early learning is key to our students’ success, and attending full-day kindergarten helps prepare our students academically and socially for the rest of their school career,” said Cashel Toner, Seattle Public Schools' director of early learning, in a written statement.

The district will direct $2.4 million in from its state-funded Learning Assistance Program to cover costs. The 16 new schools now offering free kindergarten are: Alki, Arbor Heights, BF Day, Gatewood, Greenwood, Jane Addams K-8, K-5 STEM at Boren, Lowell, Olympic View, Orca K-8, Pathfinder K-8, John Rogers, Sand Point, Stevens, Tops  K-8, and Viewlands.

The district also hopes to reduce monthly kindergarten fees at all other elementary schools from $311 to $283, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2013. The board will take up the proposal on Nov. 20.

The state Legislature has said the state will fully fund all-day kindergarten in all schools by 2017.